Design software for professionals
AutoCAD is a computer-aided design (CAD) software used by professionals to create 2D and 3D drawings on Windows computers. AutoCAD is also used to create 2D and 3D models with different textures and surfaces, like solids or mesh objects. With automation, AutoCAD is helping designers, engineers, and architects speed up time-consuming tasks like comparing drawings, counting, generating schedules, and more.
AutoCAD also has specialized toolsets aimed at specific industries to help you work faster and with more precision. In fact, AutoCAD claim these specialized toolsets increase productivity by up to 63% on average. This is just one of the many reasons why companies have favored AutoCAD instead of alternatives like Solidworks and Fusion360. They offer similar software but lack many of the features and not as much versatility offered by AutoCAD.
What is AutoCAD good for?
AutoCAD’s primary purpose is to create accurate and detailed 2D and 3D models. You can manipulate each object, store them in a library, use layers, and change the object properties and specifications like size, shape, and location. While many design-oriented professionals use it, it has other uses as well. Mathematicians, for example, can use AutoCAD to visualize their work. Artists can also use AutoCAD to create fine art, logo designers, greeting cards, maps for games; the list is near endless.
AutoCAD is not easy for beginners to use as it requires extensive training. It does come with a help guide, and there are many online and in-person courses that also provide certification.
AutoCAD receives constant updates, and new features are regularly added. Here are some of the most recent features now available:
- Drawing history: See previous versions of your work to compare or see its evolution
- Xref compare: Compare two DWG versions from external references
- Blocks palette: Store your blocks in the cloud and access them from multiple devices
- Quick measure: Quickly measure dimensions, angles, and distances in 2D drawing by hovering your mouse between two objects
- Cloud storage connectivity: Store your DWG files in Autodesk’s cloud or personal cloud and access it from anywhere
- Share: Simplifies collaboration by allowing you to send a single link to your team and define who can view the file and who can make edits
- AutoCAD web app and mobile app: Work from anywhere by accessing AutoCAD via the web app, desktop, or mobile app
- Trace: Review and add feedback without making any alterations to the existing drawing
Creating and modeling in 2D
AutoCAD’s massive range of 2D features makes it a fundamental tool when drafting, drawing, and annotating in 2D. Users can draft designs quicker and with greater proficiency - no need for technical drawing instruments and stencils as everything is digital.
You can automatically create dimensions by passing your cursor over objects and create centerlines and center marks that move automatically when the object itself moves. Revision clouds allow you to view changes by drawing a revision cloud around the change so you quickly see updates.
To display multiple views of your model, simply specify the size of your drawing sheet, and insert a title block. You can save views by name for easy reference. There are also plenty of tools to annotate your drawings with text, leaders, tables, and dimensions.
3D CAD software
When it comes to modeling in 3D, AutoCAD lets you create images and generate 3D models. You can use a combination of mesh modeling, surface, and solid tools to create realistic models and apply visual styles to control the effects of lighting and shading of your model. Applying differing lighting and materials to your model helps to communicate your design in a real-world setting. You can also reduce the need for processing power by using cloud rendering.
With the 3D navigational tools, you can view your object from any angle, height, or distance and freely orbit, swivel and zoom. If you need to show a cross-section of your object, you can create a section plane, and with live sectioning, you can even move the section object through your 3D model, revealing its inner details.
Collaboration when working with AutoCAD
AutoCAD makes it easy to collaborate when working on a project. You can share and reuse PDF and DGN files by importing them, exporting them, or attaching them as underlays. You can also compare two different versions of a drawing without leaving your open window. You can share all of your drawings via the cloud, plus define who can edit your files and who can read-only.
AutoCAD 2021 system requirements
Basic system requirements for running AutoCAD on a Windows computer:
- Operating System: 64-bit Windows
- Processor: 2.5-2.9 GHz processor
- Memory: 8 GB
- Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 with True Color
- Graphics Card: 1 GB GPU with 29 GB/s Bandwidth and DirectX 11 compliant
- Disk Space: 10.0 GB
Recommended system requirements for running AutoCAD on a Windows computer:
- Operating System: 64-bit Windows
- Processor: 3+ GHz processor
- Memory: 16 GB
- Display Resolution: 3840 x 2160
- Graphics Card: 4 GB GPU with 106 GB/s Bandwidth and DirectX 12 compliant
- Disk Space: 10.0 GB
AutoCAD is essential for professionals
AutoCAD is one of the most feature-rich and user-friendly computer-aided design programs for Windows. With it, you can generate designs, images, create plans in both 2D and 3D, and with the cloud computing feature, you can save processing power. The ability to automate tasks can save vast amounts of time, and you can further customize the software with add-on apps and APIs.
AutoCAD is widely used across many industries due to its range of collaboration tools, making it easy to share between team members onsite and offsite. AutoCAD is a premium-priced CAD software but outperforms its closest competitors.